Demonstration against the proposed new copyright legislation
Here's a press release which I translated from Finnish (with proofreading help from Brian Peary). The youth organisations of Kokoomus and Vasemmistoliitto
backing up the same demonstration - I doubt that has ever happened
before. The preparations indicate it will be big. Spread the word.
Demonstration in Helsinki against the new proposed Finnish copyright law
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On Tuesday 4th of October 2005 at 13:00 we shall organize a demonstration against the new copyright law in front of the Parliament Building. We invite members of parliament and representatives of the media to come to discuss the proposed copyright law and where our society should be directed in regard to immaterial rights.
Problems of the proposed copyright law
The most integral problems of the copyright law are its
producer-orientedness, complexity, and inadequate preparation. The law
will expand the rights of the producers significantly and unpredictably
in regard to technical protective measures. The position of the
consumer has not been given enough thought even though it is
exceptionally important when it comes to copyright legislation.
Other fundamental problems with the new copyright law are as follows:
- The forbiddance to disseminate information on how to deactivate copy protection measures, which goes against our freedom of speech.
- The forbiddance to distribute information or computer programs that can deactivate copy protection measures.
- The sales ban in Finland on articles that were originally published outside of the EEA.
- The law will cause harm especially to Open Source
software such as Linux.
It is difficult to understand the law - even experts and those who
prepared it are confused and divided in opinion on how the law should
be interpreted. The law’s current form has set off an outcry amongst
our citizens, but this outcry has had no influence on the actions of
our government whatsoever. As compliance to the law would be virtually
impossible to oversee, the result will be an unsound piece of
We demand that the parliament abandon the current proposition for
the new copyright law and start over the preparation of the law from
scratch. The preparation of this law must take notice of consumers’
rights. The legislation must be prepared and managed using better form
of governance, taking into account the fundamental rights such as the
freedom of speech that are provided to citizens by the constitutional
The Committee for Education and Culture ignored the remarks of the Committee for Constitutional Law regarding the problems of the law. We demand that the Committee for Education and Culture state why they failed to take into account the standpoints of the Committee for Constitutional Law. We also demand that the decision-makers explain how freedom of speech and other constitutional rights can be realized in Finland, if the changes demanded by the Committee for Constitutional Law are considered only normative and can be skipped as “baffling” when needed.
We demand that the Minister of Culture Tanja Karpela explain why the opinions of consumer interest groups such as the Consumer Agency and numerous civic organizations were not taken into account sufficiently during the law’s preparation, nor noted in the proposition. We also demand an explanation as to why the Ministry of Education has prepared the law so inadequately, as it contains numerous controversies and unclarities.
We especially hope that the members of parliament give reasons for interpreting the large scale awakening of citizens to oppose the poor quality and distorted law as “terrorization” of the MPs.
In the spirit of representative and conversational democracy we demand that different members of parliament explain their standpoints and indicate that they understand the aspects relating to the complicated copyright legislation. If they are going to vote for the new law, we ask that they will state their reasons and answer our questions in public.
In Helsinki on the 30th of September 2005
Mikko Särelä, researcher
040 544 6379
044 548 1861
Vihreiden nuorten ja opiskelijoiden liitto - ViNO ry
041 503 4000
0400 934 257
Sosiaalidemokraattiset Nuoret ry
040 542 0009
0400 620 772
Suomen Keskustanuoret ry
040 836 1815
Liberaalinen nuorisoliitto ry
050 594 1416
Finnish Linux User Group FLUG ry
Further information (in Finnish):